Romeo and Juliet

How do the references to death and suicide in the play Romeo and Juliet help you understand the characters of Romeo and Juliet?

Using ACT 5 SCENE 1 when Romeo is at the apothecary wanting to commit suicide and die by buying the poison and Using ACT 4 SCENE 3 when Juliet drinks the potion to fake death to answer the question above.

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Good question! References to death and suicide are all over the place. Just pick an act and you will find one or two or three.......This is largely because of the brashness of the two star crossed lovers. They think in the moment and act on impulse. Hey, that sounds like teenagers today! This is why this play will be read long after you and I are no longer here. Teenagers, like R&J, often see situations in extremes. Either they satisfy their passions or else die. This is taken literally in the play. So, in Act 4 scene 3 Juliet is about to down her potion. Her fake death foreshadows her real death, "Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault, To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?"

In act 5 scene 1 Romeo wants to die. He thinks Juliet is dead so he feels that an extreme response is his only option, "A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear As will disperse itself through all the veins That the life-weary taker may fall dead" Apparently Romeo is weary of life. The guy is like 16 and lives a life of comfort and nobility. We see here the emotional extremes that these two embody. Their adolescent passions view each other as life. Anything else is viewed as death.